Angry, subversive, pointed, and powerful, the eighth album from one of the few performers left who can call themselves Red Dirt and nobody will cry foul is a lot to digest, and hard to leave behind. Squelch is what Jason Boland and his backing band The Stragglers chose to name this work, which is the same name given to the knob that truckers use to eliminate the static and idle chatter.
Quietly, stealthily, some of country music’s major labels are starting to retool with very young, and very country performing talent. Whether they’re hedging their bets, or hoping for a hard country resurgence, Mo Pitney is not just an anomaly anymore, he is one of a number of traditional-leaning performers being groomed for what may be the next big movement in country after the current R&B disco craze invariably crashes.
‘Things That Can’t Be Undone’ is one of those albums you ultimately enjoy, but you may have initial reservations about, or maybe even concerns over, or downright complaints about for some listeners because it is full of unexpected curve balls. This album is not like anything Corb has ever released before. Pairing up with Corb is producer extraordinaire and the man of the hour in Americana Dave Cobb.
If there’s any silver lining to the dark, ominous clouds hanging like a low ceiling over country music’s female population, it’s that faced with the reality of their songs systematically failing at radio, they’re inadvertently bestowed the freedom to do whatever the hell they want without having to worry about the radio ramifications.
Joe Nichols is fed up with all of the country music that doesn’t sound country and says the same things over and over dammit, and he’s aiming to do something about it. You know . . . like release a song that references the same things all the others songs he’s complaining about do.
Announced today in press release fashion, the 49th Annual, 2015 CMA Awards will be opened by newly-signed NASH Icon recording artist Hank Williams Jr. singing Waylon’s interpretation of Neil Young’s “Are You Ready For the Country?” first released on an album of the same name by Waylon in 1976. Hank Jr. will be joined by Eric Church in the rendition.
Are You Ready for the Country, Chris Stapleton, CMA Awards, Eric Church, Hank Williams Jr., Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Maddie & Tae, Meghan Trainor, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, NASH, NASH Icon, Neil Young, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
The only thing good that could come from Charles Kelley releasing solo material is that it hints that maybe Lady Antebellum is on the rocks. And since the word is that this is not the case and the band is just taking a short hiatus, not even this can be celebrated as a positive development.
Who knows what goes into deciding what bands and artists launch into the stratosphere. and which ones are destined to slag it out on a slow build spending umpteen hours in a smelly tour van. All I know is I’ve seen Mike and the Moonpies get name checked by Sturgill Simpson and open for the Turnpike Troubadours on numerous occasions, and never did their music strike me as second class.
The stereotypical observation about the classic side of the country music divide is that classic fans only like music because it’s old and sounds old, and only hate the new music of today because it sounds new. But the truth of the matter is country music’s past has plenty of bad music, eras marked by disappointment and poor trends, and songs and artists that time has not been very kind to.
“Head Over Boots” is not a great song, but it’s country, and it’s Jon Pardi, and it suits the ears just fine. The key for Pardi and Laird was to put something together that was positive in nature, but still native to Pardi’s sound, and something still traditional enough to delineate Pardi from radio peers. So they headed to the dance halls of Texas for inspiration.
The hubris, the insult of calling Tangled Up “country,” the effrontery to the institution and the brazenness of the act are unparalleled, and start country music down a brambled path towards a terrible demise where it can’t define its own borders or distinguish itself from the rest of American music. For the first time, we ask the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” and cannot give ourselves a reassuring answer.
It’s the combination of Strickland’s songwriting, and his amazing North Carolina-bred country voice that give you that tingle only true country music knows how to evoke. His frequent collaborator Gary Braddy also pens some of this album’s best songs, while the ‘B’ Sides continue to be one of the coolest backing bands in country music.
It’s fitting that Clint’s last name is “Black” because he seems to have spent his entire career overshadowed by his peers, even when he was at his commercial peak. As part of the now famous “Class of ’89,” he was always vying for attention with Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Brooks & Dunn. He still was wildly successful. 22 #1 singles is nothing to scoff at.
Whatever you could want or hope from Don Henley’s “Cass County” as a country music fan, this album delivers it and in ample quantities. I don’t know that any country fan’s expectations can meet the actual enjoyment this music deals out. And this is a traditional country record.
Alison Krauss, Ashley Monroe, Cass County, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Jesse Winchester, Lucinda Williams, Merle Haggard, Mick Jagger, Review, The Eagles, The Louvin Brothers, Tift Merritt, Trisha Yearwood
The environment in modern country music right now is such that we celebrate anyone with two ‘X’ chromosomes who can crack the Top 20, yet there’s so many of these middle-tier mainstream males crowding the scene that you can barely keep their names straight. You have male performers who’ve received three #1 stamps without releasing their second full-length record…
Where would the current generation of alt-country and Americana artists be today if it weren’t for Ben Nichols and Memphis-based alt-country band Lucero? Lucero’s journey puts them in that sweet spot where right as many of today’s emerging Americana stars were learning their licks, it was Lucero they were leaning on.
I express all of this knowing it’s going to be a minority, unpopular viewpoint. I also express it as someone whose philosophies in music are very much influenced by Ryan Adams’ body of work. If you find Ryan Adams’ ‘1989’ entertaining, then hey, don’t let my corrosive words cloud your judgement. But I can’t share in that joy.
“High Class”? Try bottom-feeding on the dreck of moralistic depravity and the absolute evisceration of scruples this song evidences in spades from Eric. The words of this song are slop, purposely dropping essential consonants and vowels to invigorate its appeal to the idiocy of the drooling mass consumer. References to Escalades, VIP lists, DJ’s, and Timberlake….
That’s the thing about the Turnpike Troubadours: they’ve exuded a patience and steadiness that has put them steadfastly in touch with the underlying spirit of country music. If they wanted to pivot just slightly and go some big rock route, they could blow up huge. But they didn’t and they don’t ,and they still blew up huge. This isn’t old country. This is new country, only the roots are still attached, and the branches fan out wide.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Saving Country Music’s 2015 Americana Music Awards LIVE blog! As the festivities stream live from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, we’ll tag along to leave our observations, keep up with the winners, discuss the performances, and share what happened with the folks who missed it.